The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

90° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Worth the Watch: CBS’ “Supergirl” isn’t really that super

    Worth the Watch: CBS Supergirl isnt really that super

    It’s 2015, and the superhero entertainment market is an oversaturated buffet. No one knows when the bubble will burst, but until then the buffet of superhero selections is seemingly endless. 

    The Marvel Cinematic Universe acts as the godfather of the superhero-film boom, but caped crusaders have also invaded the small screen over the last few years.

    Over 10 superhero series currently grace television, and “Supergirl” is the most forgettable—the saltine crackers of the buffet.

    I don’t blame “Supergirl.” Creating an exhilarating Superman narrative has proven exceedingly difficult, and here CBS must attempt the same under the constraints of Superman’s lesser-known cousin. Unfortunately, “Supergirl” doesn’t use the relative obscurity of its heroine as an opportunity to create a product that raises its voice louder than the doldrums of the crowded market.

    “Supergirl” is whatever the opposite of fireworks is — the equivalent of an accountant spicing things up at work by showing up to casual Friday in jeans rather than traditional slacks. 

    The point is that“Supergirl” opts for the safe and boring route to capitalize on the easy marketing of known products. Like Superman? Great! Come check out this TV show about his cousin. 

    “Supergirl” does everything it can to color within the lines of old-school comic book hero tales. Kara Zor-El, aka Kara Danvers, learns life lessons while simultaneously fighting bad guys. CBS is banking on the name recognition of Superman kicking in and attracting viewers who are perfectly happy with run-of-the-mill superhero schlock.

    It’s a shame that “Supergirl” goes the route of the forgettable, as it holds potential. In terms of things done right, Melissa Benoist as the title character is at the top of the list. Benoist is somehow able to make the wooden dialogue and character development charming rather than eye-roll inducing. 

    However, the bumbling dialogue extends throughout the show. I’m looking at you, oh-so-subtle expositions dumps. (“Like I told you all when we first crashed here and escaped …”)

    “Supergirl” eschews its two most interesting angles and treats any moment that touches on these subjects as hit-and-runs. 

    First, Kara works for CatCo Worldwide Media, the mirror image of Clark Kent’s Daily Planet newspaper, as a personal assistant to founder Cat Grant. Rather than exploring the idea of media narratives forming public images and twisting opinions into facts, “Supergirl” is satisfied to stay within the trope of having the city’s affection for its superhero flip-flop on the whim of a positive or negative headline.
    Second, you would think that CBS would be able to capitalize on having a great female hero in a sea of male superheroes. The show is all over the map when it comes to the presentation of Supergirl as an empowering female figure. 

    Kara is so laden with stereotypes it’s a wonder her superstrength can save her back from breaking. She works as a glorified secretary to a powerful figure, wears glasses with her hair up and has a serious case of Ugly Duckling Syndrome. It’s aggravating when Kara’s step-sister explains to Kara that she should be satisfied with her “good” life because of two reasons: she has a good job as a secretary and is also good looking. 

    Later, Kara’s sister marvels at how pretty she is when she takes off her glasses. 

    It’s great to have a strong female superhero, but when it’s done with all of the subtlety of an axe to the head the choice comes across as condescending. Case in point: An alien bad guy proclaims that all women should bow down to men and is then defeated by Kara.

    “Supergirl” is a plate full of crackers—not particularly interesting, not particularly bad and not particularly anything but bland. 

    The show fails to differentiate itself from the glut of superhero choices presently available, which is a real shame because Benoist’s Supergirl deserves better than the tasteless, forgettable and confused “Supergirl.”

    Worth the Watch: No

    Follow Alex Furrier on Twitter.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search